Boiling heat and no water: taps run dry in southern Iraq

Hexbyte Glen Cove

A boy collects water amid shortages and soaring temperature in the Iraqi village of al-Aghawat: dozens of villages depend on sporadic tanker-truck deliveries and salty wells.

Younes Ajil turns on the tap in his home but nothing comes out: dozens of villages are without running water in drought-hit Iraq, surviving on sporadic tanker-truck deliveries and salty wells.

For everything from drinking to bathing and washing dishes and clothes, Ajil and his eight children wait at their home in Al-Aghawat for trucked-in from the Diwaniyah provincial authorities once or twice a week.

In burning that at times approach 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit), he said he hasn’t bathed for four days.

“Even if there were daily deliveries, there would not be enough” water, the 42-year-old said.

Iraq is known in Arabic as the Land of the Two Rivers, but it has seen on the once mighty Tigris and Euphrates plummet.

The Euphrates, which passes through Diwaniyah province, has visibly contracted in recent months, with some of the river’s weaker branches drying up.

Governor Zouheir al-Shaalan said “around a third” of his province has problems accessing water, with more than 75 villages affected.

Ajil has dug a well, but the water is salty.

“We mix that with the water from the trucks and make do,” he told AFP.

Climate migration

Local children cry out and run towards an orange water truck as it drives up the dirt road in their village.

Children in al-Aghawat use a broken fridge to cool down: authorities blame drought for the current water shortages, but also dams built upstream on some rivers and tributaries in neighbouring Turkey and Iran.

One person fills a tall white tank, climbing on top of it to hold the truck’s hose as water gushes out, while others wait to fill smaller tanks or even cooking pots.

Children splash gleefully in a rusting old fridge that has been laid on the ground as a cramped, makeshift tub.

The UN classifies Iraq as the world’s fifth most vulnerable country to climate change.

Authorities blame drought for the current water shortages, but also dams built upstream on some rivers and tributaries in neighbouring Turkey and Iran.

Ajil shares his house with his brother, Mohammed.

Like most of their neighbours, they used to make a living from farming.

But over the past two years, the drought has brought local agriculture to its knees, so they have been selling their sheep to survive.

There are around 50 houses in the village, Ajil said, but only 10 families remain.

“The rest have left,” he said. “If there is no water, there is no more life.”

Children are sprayed with water when it is delivered to their village: Iraq is known in Arabic as the Land of the Two Rivers, but it has seen water levels on the once mighty Tigris and Euphrates plummet.

A report published this month by the International Organization for Migration in Iraq said that “climate migration is already a reality” in the country.

More than 3,300 families across 10 provinces in the country’s centre and south were displaced due to “climate factors” as of March this year, the report said, blaming , high salinity and poor water quality.

‘Farming is our lives’

Hassan Naim, who manages Diwaniyah’s , said around 20 treatment plants were at a standstill.

Before, “some rivers ran dry, but only for a matter of days”, he said.

The present crisis has been going on for more than two months.

Naim acknowledged that authorities were distributing a “very low” amount of water compared to what was needed, but cautioned against using high-salinity well-water.

Diwaniyah Governor Shaalan said that to end the shortages, the province needed to receive double the current water flows of 85-90 cubic metres (3,000-3,200 cubic feet) per second along the Euphrates.

“Diwaniyah has no , oilfields, religious sanctuaries or tourism” to generate income, he said, urging authorities in Baghdad to exclude the province from the ‘s water rationing plan.

The dried up Ghattara River in Iraq’s central Diwaniya province.

“Farming is our lives,” he said.

Hundreds of angry Diwaniyah residents have twice taken to the streets to protest the situation.

Al-Aghawat resident Razzak Issa believes a deal with Turkey, the source of the Euphrates, is needed to increase water supplies.

“Yes, we can ration usage, but it’s hot. How am I supposed to ration? I don’t bathe? I don’t wash my clothes? I don’t bathe my children? It’s impossible,” he said.

He too mixes salty water from his well with the trucked-in water from the authorities.

“Where can we go?” he said. “Everywhere in Iraq is “torture”.



© 2022 AFP

Citation:
Boiling heat and no water: taps run dry in southern Iraq (2022, August 24)
retrieved 25 August 2022
from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-southern-iraq.html

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Noise pollution is hurting animals, and we don’t even know how much

Hexbyte Glen Cove

If you don’t like noise, imagine how pets and other animals feel about it. Credit: Aleksey Boyko/Shutterstock

From construction projects to busy roads, airplanes and railways, human noise is everywhere. It is an invisible cause of stress, posing serious risks to human health and well-being. However, noise also harms animals living in close contact with humans, in homes, farms and zoos.

Noise is a distracting, scary or physically painful sound. The impacts of noise upon humans range from mild irritation to learning and memory problems, permanent hearing damage and .

Abnormally , such as at music concerts or , is controlled to protect human hearing. But is not regulated for other animals.

In our recent paper, we found a greater awareness and more understanding is needed into how noise harms pets, farm and working animals and zoo animals.

Research tends to measure how loud a noise is in (dB). Decibels are easy to measure with a and form the basis of human health guidelines. But the type of noise source, (pitch), rate and duration can also impact how noise is experienced by a listener.

Great apes have similar hearing capabilities to humans, but the rest of the perceives noise very differently. Hearing ranges from very high frequency ultrasound (>20,000 Hz) echolocation in bats and dolphins to very low frequency infrasound (. The hearing range of humans sits right between ultra and infrasound.

Some invertebrates such as hunting spiders detect sound from vibrations with their tiny leg hairs. It’s difficult to tell how sensitive an animal is to noise but what’s most important is whether noise in their environment is within their hearing range, rather than if the animal has a high or low frequency.

What we know

Due to a lack of research, we don’t know that much about how precisely noise affects animals but this is what we’ve learnt so far.

Loud noise can permanently damage lab rodents’ hearing. We can assume this exposure is painful because rats exposed to loud noise behave differently with and without pain medication. Findings in lab rodent studies can be generalized to other mammals but there are known differences in hearing ability across different animals.

Wild animals suffer chronic stress, fertility problems and change their migration routes in response to noise. Confined animals are often exposed to high levels of human-generated noise which they cannot escape.

Research shows noise causes confined animals pain, fear and cognitive problems. For example in fish, vibrations from extreme noise can damage the swim bladder which in turn impacts their and buoyancy. Pain and fear are strong indicators of poor welfare.

Inaudible noise (vibrations) can also hurt animals by physically shaking their internal body parts. Farm animals experience high levels of vibration during transport. Our research group at Anglia Ruskin University is investigating whether vibrations from construction work impacts zoo primates.

One noisy event such as a local music festival or extreme weather can trigger long-term fear in animals. The link between noise and fear has been well studied in dogs using recordings of thunderstorms.

This kind of noise sensitivity, which affects up to 50% of pet dogs, is triggered by unexpected noises. It makes animals hide or seek human comfort. Farmed hens exposed to vehicle noise and even music also freeze in fear.

Primates, birds and frogs can adjust in the short term to noisy environments by vocalizing louder, similar to raising our voices at noisy parties. But the long-term consequences of animals needing to change their methods of communication hasn’t been studied.

Long-term exposure to loud noise reduces learning and memory ability in lab mice. The link between cognition and anxiety in humans is complex but generally speaking, high levels of anxiety reduce our ability to perform challenging tasks.

This could be similar in other mammals but there is not enough research to be sure. Studying noise in zoos is difficult because it’s hard to control other factors, like weather and visitor presence.

How to help

If your pet is stressed by noise, a range of treatments are available to calm or distract them including synthetic pheromones and enrichment toys. But prevention is better than cure.

If you take care of confined animals, pay close attention to human activities that generate noise (such as cleaning and gardening) and how the surroundings may reflect sound waves. Sound waves can be blocked and bounce back from materials like concrete, metal and glass, which makes the noise worse.

You can protect your pets during noisy events, like thunderstorms and firework displays, by providing extra spaces to escape noise. Some soft furnishings like pillows or blankets inside a den help absorb sounds. A pile of blankets to crawl under, even without a den, will help to block out noise.

Better regulation is needed to protect from construction work and noisy events. Animals don’t have a say in what building projects or music concerts go ahead but they can suffer the consequences.



This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Citation:
Noise pollution is hurting animals, and we don’t even know how much (2022, August 23)
retrieved 24 August 2022
from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-noise-pollution-animals-dont.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

% %item_read_more_button%% Hexbyte Glen Cove Educational Blog Repost With Backlinks — #metaverse #vr #ar #wordpress

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